By Eamonn Smith
Aston Villa Away Days – Chelsea 3 Villa 0
Another away day to the capital once again called upon the services of London Midland trains for the trip down south. On the journey down there was a colourful mix of shirts, including Leicester and Stoke fans making their way to their respective games.
An hour and a hour later, we arrived at Euston station, with spirits high after an unbeaten start to the season away from home, but we all knew how difficult the task at Stamford Bridge would be.
Arriving at our usual London away days destination, the Boot pub, , a stone’s throw away from St Pancras Station on Cromer Street, we got the obligatory pre-match pints in. The Merseyside derby on TV helped build up the excitement, as we tucked into some food and pondered on what the starting line-up would be and eagerly awaited for team news to settle our nerves.
A couple of pool games later, with kick off fast approaching, we decided to set off in good time to make the trip across London on the Victoria and District lines.
As we approached St Pancras station, with the crowds growing, the atmosphere became a lot tenser. The sudden increase of Chelsea shirts sporting the name ‘Diego Costa’ on the back really started to make us feel a lot more anxious, as we got closer to Stamford Bridge. We all knew what he could do…and Vlaar was still AWOL.
The tubes were absolutely packed with blue shirts, although some of them seemed lost and asked for directions…well, you can’t blame the tourists for not knowing there way round London.
Despite it being so close to kick off, we didn’t see many Villa fans, until we got exited at Fulham Broadway and heard a few chants of ‘Holte Enders in the Sky’ echoing around the station. We made the short stroll through the masses to the away end and made our way up to the top tier of the Shed End.
The concourse was packed full of hopeful Villa fans singing. ‘Villa, Villa Villa’ rang around the ground. The away end, as usual, was full and the Aston Villa away faithful lived up to their reputation of being one of the best in the country.
In the initial exchanges, Villa enjoyed a lot of the ball and played it around nicely, giving fans some hope for the game’s outcome, and with Villa’s new left full-back Aly Cissokho coming close from a corner, we were optimistic.
That feeling lasted only until the eighth minute though, when Chelsea’s number eight, Oscar, slotted the ball into the bottom left corner of Brad Guzan’s goal, which in some ways deflated the travelling support. Yet, despite going into half time trailing by one goal, we felt we were still in the game and that it was a decent half’s effort against the favourites for the league title.
Shortly after the restart, Chelsea’s new favourite son, Diego Costa, put the blues two goals to the good with a header on 59 minutes. The Villa fans refused to be deflated though and continued to be vocal until the very end.
Chants of ‘Where were you, when your were s**t’ were aimed at the Chelsea fans to our left, which sort of provoked a bit of banter, with the Chelsea faithful returning a few songs of their own, which was a rare occurrence in the context of the whole game.
Villa chants of ‘Aston Villa FC are by far the greatest team…’, could be heard all over a quiet Stamford Bridge despite Chelsea seemingly having the game now in the bag. Not even Willian tapping in the third, a rebounded effort from Diego Costa, to make it 3-0, dampened spirits.
As the Villa team came over to thank the travelling support, we were left to ponder upon an average performance. In the cold light of day, it wasn’t a total disaster against the strongest team in the league, considering they previously put six past Everton. Despite feeling very deflated, we couldn’t feel too disheartened, and as we began our journey back to the West Midlands, thoughts turned to the next away day to the blue side of Merseyside.
Home Atmos Rating:
5/10: Apart from a few times during the match, the Chelsea home faithful seemed reluctant to open their mouths, which ultimately led to a fairly dull and suppressed atmosphere. I wonder what the visiting Samuel L. Jackson (see pic above) thought of it all?
Follow Eamonn on Twitter – @EAmonn_Smith